The networking giant's IoT system sounds like it would be similar to its Unified Computing System, which is preintegrated and designed to be a data center in a box. Cisco's IoT approach revolves more around a portfolio of products, reference architecture and ecosystem with the likes of Rockwell Automation and GE to name a few.
Not surprisingly, Cisco's IoT rollout includes a heavy dose of infrastructure ranging from networking gear to security cameras. But Cisco also added tools for analytics, application management as well as "fog computing."
Fog computing is an extension of the cloud designed to manage data from sensors and edge devices. For instance, a temperature reading every second doesn't need to be uploaded to the cloud. Fog computing techniques would take that real-time data, average it out based on parameters and upload it to the cloud every half hour or so. If temperature got out of whack the sensor would have enough intelligence to act quickly.
Broadly speaking, Cisco's IoT system and products are aimed at network connectivity, fog computing, analytics, security, management and automation and application enablement.
Kip Compton, vice president of Cisco's IoT Systems and Software Group, said the company's 15 new products round out the company's portfolio. "IoT is complex, but many customers want an integrated system within a heterogeneous environment," said Compton.
In other words, IoT is going to have multiple players and Cisco's plan is to develop its ecosystem and integrate parts wherever possible. "It's a managed system approach," he said.
Sujett Chand, CTO Rockwell Automation, said that integrated parts will matter more as things become smart assets. "A smart asset provides information about itself and can be automated, " he explained. "IoT is really a collection of systems that need to be knitted together."
Indeed, the Cisco and Rockwell partnership is based on the idea that operations and information technology will connect and possibly merge over time.